Importing goods into the U.S. can be complex. For this reason, importers often rely on a customs broker to the help clear goods through customs. Customs Brokers can help in the classification of your goods and assist you in complying with changing Customs clearance regulations. For someone not familiar with importing terminology and procedures, these regulations and mandates can be challenging.  A licensed customs broker can provide you with guidance that will leave you time to focus on your business. Here is an outline of how to do business with a customs broker.

Research Your Brokers


Search the internet for relevant and established customs brokers.

There are a variety of questions to ask a customs broker, but start with doing some research. Search the internet for relevant and established customs brokers. If the customs brokerage firm has a website, look through all of the information on the site. There should be a detailed description of their services. Additionally, there should also be resources to help you gain an understanding of a customs broker. The website should have a quote section that will allow you to get the process in motion. Don’t forget to check social media. Feeling comfortable with a customs broker is very important. Social Media can be a good indicator of the company’s brand and culture.

Select Your Broker

Once the investigation and research is over, it’s time to select a broker. Set up an account with the broker to get things started. The broker’s website should provide additional information on the next steps in the process. If the company provides it, start filling out the paperwork on the website. The initial paperwork will usually include questionnaires, a power of attorney and an account application. With this paperwork, brokers will get a better understanding of your business and how to proceed with making sure your imports are cleared at customs.

Fill Out a Power of Attorney

Important decisions will be made when it comes to your cargo. Customs brokers deal with up to 60 federal agencies in order to make sure shipments are cleared at the border. For this reason, it is important to fill out a Power of Attorney (POA) form. This form is required to have a customs broker make decisions on the importers behalf. Keep in mind, the POA only lets a broker make customs decisions. It does not allow the broker to make your business decisions.

Establish Credit

You have the option to establish credit with a customs broker or you may satisfy the fees via Cash on Delivery (COD). Establishing credit allows the broker to pay duties and other fees on the importers behalf to keep the process moving quickly. Importers who do not plan on using a customs brokerage firm again will not need to establish credit.   An account will be opened with your business once the line of credit is established. Importers may also request to set up their own Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) payer code with customs by completion of an ACH application. U. S. Customs and Border Protection Automated Clearinghouse Daily Statement Payment Program will allow customs to communicate banking account information to the Federal Reserve Bank via ACH Bank routing to satisfy duties and taxes for the filer.  The ACH payer program will allow for funds from the importers bank account to be transferred directly to the Revenue Division via the ACH process.

Contact Your Broker


Contact the broker directly to identify your commodity and any additional documents required to expedite the release without any agency detainment.

Now that you have shown interest and started the paperwork, contact the broker directly to identify your commodity and any additional documents required to expedite the release without any agency detainment. The broker will also introduce you to the types of surety bonds available. There are two types of bonds; Single Entry Bond (SEB), and Continuous Bond. An SEB is for if you are importing one time only. A Continuous Bond is for if you will be importing multiple times.

Here at AFC International, our goal is to help you clear your imports through U.S. customs fast and easy. We can clear your shipments through any major U.S. port, making the customs clearance process simple. The import experts at AFC International have the experience you need for importing your goods into the US.

Are you looking for a customs broker? Contact us today at 800-274-2329. You can also join the conversation by leaving us a comment below or chatting with us on Twitter.

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AFC International has experienced Licensed Customs Brokers that can file your Import Security Filing (ISF) and other import-entry-related information with U.S. Customs officials, monitoring your imports throughout the imports clearance process. Our value-added customs brokerage services are provided to ensure import clearance success. Call us at 800-274-2329 or get a quote today to get started. AFC Request a Quote box

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AFC International: Custom Brokerage Support